Wood Kitchen Cabinet Ideas for a Natural Look

By Interior Designer TRACY SVENDSEN | Published on September 17, 2023 | Updated on March 23, 2024|

Wood Kitchen Cabinet Ideas: Are you looking to enhance the beauty and functionality of your kitchen? Choosing the perfect wood kitchen cabinets is one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make. 

The right cabinets can transform your space, providing style and ample storage for your cooking and dining essentials. But with so many options available, how do you choose?

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about selecting the ideal wood kitchen cabinets for your space. I’ll cover everything from the different types of wood and finishes to the various cabinet styles and configurations available.

If you aim for a rustic farmhouse kitchen look, a sleek and modern aesthetic, or anything in between, you’ll find the perfect wood cabinets to match your style and budget. These tips will help you make informed decisions to enhance your kitchen’s visual appeal and add value to your home, whether you seek a new design or kitchen remodel. Let’s dive in and find the wood kitchen cabinets that will make your kitchen dreams a reality. Feature image courtesy of Lindye Galloway Design.

Wood Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

A Dallas Kitchen’s “Fun and Easy Transformation Pairs Green and Wood Perfectly | Urbanology Design
Image courtesy of Architectural Digest

Factors to Consider When Choosing Wood Kitchen Cabinets

When it comes to selecting wood kitchen cabinets, there are several factors you need to consider. These factors will help you narrow your options and ensure you choose visually appealing cabinets that meet your functional needs.

1. Durability and Strength

Wood cabinets come in various wood types, each with durability and strength characteristics. Hardwoods like oak, maple, and cherry are known for their durability and can withstand the wear and tear of daily use. On the other hand, softwoods like pine and spruce are less durable and may not be suitable for high-traffic kitchens.

Natural Wood Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

Natural Wood Kitchen Cabinets
Image courtesy of Studio McGee

2. Style and Aesthetics

The style and aesthetics of your kitchen play a significant role in the type of wood cabinets you choose. If you aim for a rustic kitchen design, wood like reclaimed barn wood or knotty pine can add warmth and character to your space. For a more modern and sleek aesthetic, consider woods like maple or birch with a smooth and clean finish.

3. Budget

Wood kitchen cabinets can vary significantly in price, so it’s essential to establish a budget before starting your search. Hardwoods tend to be more expensive than softwoods, and certain wood species may be pricier due to their rarity or unique characteristics. Remember that higher-quality cabinets may have a higher price tag but can offer better durability and longevity.

Light Wood Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

Kitchen With Light Kitchen Cabinets
Image courtesy of Vincent Van Duysen Architects

Wood Kitchen Cabinet Ideas &  The Different Types of Wood 

Natural wood kitchen cabinets come in a wide range of wood types, each with unique characteristics and aesthetic appeal. Here are some of the most popular wood options to consider:

1. Oak Kitchen Cabinets

Oak is a classic choice for kitchen cabinets, known for its durability and timeless appeal. It features a prominent grain pattern and is available in various finishes, from light wood to dark. Oak cabinets can add warmth and character to any kitchen design.

2. Maple Kitchen Cabinets

Maple cabinets are highly sought after for their smooth and even grain patterns. They offer a clean and contemporary look, making them a popular choice for modern kitchens. Maple is also known for its durability and resistance to warping or cracking.

3. Cherry Kitchen Cabinets

Cherry cabinets are prized for their rich, reddish-brown color and smooth grain. They add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any kitchen design. Cherry wood is durable and can develop a beautiful patina over time.

Kitchen with Wood Cabinets

Wood Kitchen Cabinet Ideas
Image courtesy of Allison Lind Design

Pros and Cons of Each Wood Type

Each wood type for kitchen cabinets has its advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these pros and cons will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and preferences.

1. Oak Cabinets

Pros: Durable and long-lasting, wide range of finish options, affordable compared to some other hardwoods

Cons: Grain pattern may not be to everyone’s taste, can be prone to scratching or denting if not properly cared for, requires regular maintenance to preserve its appearance

2. Maple Cabinets

Pros: Smooth and even grain pattern, resistant to warping or cracking, easy to clean and maintain

Cons: Can be more expensive than other wood types, limited color options compared to some other woods, may darken over time, especially with exposure to sunlight

3. Cherry Cabinets

Pros: Rich and distinctive color, develops a beautiful patina over time, highly durable and resistant to wear

Cons: More expensive than some other wood types, can be susceptible to fading if exposed to direct sunlight, requires regular maintenance to preserve its appearance

Pictures of Wood Kitchen Cabinets

A Kitchen With Warm Wood Cabinets & Flooring
Image courtesy of Hoedemaker Pfeiffer Architects

Choosing the Right Cabinet Style for Your Kitchen

Your cabinet style will significantly impact your kitchen’s overall look and feel. Here are some popular cabinet styles to consider:

1. Shaker Style Kitchen Cabinets

Shaker-style cabinets feature clean lines, recessed panel cabinet doors, and minimal ornamentation. They are versatile and can work well in traditional and modern kitchen designs. Shaker cabinets are known for their simplicity and timeless appeal.

2. Raised Panel Kitchen Cabinets

Raised panel cabinets have a more decorative and formal look, with a raised center panel and intricate detailing. They are often associated with traditional kitchen designs and can add a sense of elegance and sophistication.

3. Flat Panel Kitchen Cabinets

Flat panel or slab cabinets have a sleek and minimalist appearance. They feature a flat center panel and are popular in contemporary and modern kitchen designs. Flat panel cabinets offer a clean and streamlined look.

Kitchen with Dark Wood Cabinets

Wood Kitchen Cabinet Ideas | Dark Wood Cabinets
Image courtesy of West of Main Design

Cabinet Finishes and Stains

The finish or stain you choose for your wood kitchen cabinets can significantly impact their appearance and durability. Here are some popular options to consider:

1. Painted Finish

Painted finishes offer endless color options and can help create a specific look or style in your kitchen. They can range from bright and bold colors to more subtle and neutral tones. Painted finishes can add a pop of color and personality to your space.

2. Stained Finish

Stained finishes enhance the natural beauty of the wood, allowing the grain pattern and color to shine through. Stains come in various shades, from light to dark, and can add warmth and depth to your kitchen cabinets. Stained finishes are a popular choice for traditional and rustic kitchen designs.

3. Glazed Finish

Glazed finishes add a layer of depth and dimension to your kitchen cabinets. They involve applying a glaze over the base finish, highlighting the details and contours of the wood. Glazed finishes can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any kitchen design.

Modern Kitchen with Wood Cabinets

Modern Kitchen with Wood Cabinets
Image courtesy of Architectural Digest

Cabinet Hardware and Accessories for Kitchen Cabinetry

In addition to choosing the suitable wood and finish for your kitchen cabinets, remember to consider the hardware and accessories. These small details can significantly affect your cabinets’ overall functionality and aesthetics.

1. Knobs and Pulls

Knobs and pulls come in a variety of styles, materials, and finishes. They can add an elegant look and enhance the overall look of your cabinets. Consider the style and finish of your kitchen cabinets when choosing knobs and pulls to ensure a cohesive and harmonious design.

2. Drawer Organizers

Drawer organizers help keep your kitchen essentials neat and organized. They come in various shapes and sizes and can be customized to fit your needs. Drawer organizers can make finding and accessing your utensils, cutlery, and other small items more accessible.

3. Lighting

Installing lighting inside your cabinets can enhance their functionality and add a touch of ambiance to your kitchen. Consider adding under-cabinet lighting to illuminate your countertops and workspace. This can make it easier to prepare meals and create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

Wood Kitchen Cabinet Ideas | Wood Cabinets with Stone
Image courtesy of Intimate Living Interiors

Budget Considerations for Wood Kitchen Cabinets

Setting a budget is essential when choosing wood kitchen cabinets. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your budget:

1. Determine Your Priorities

Decide which aspects are most important to you, whether the type of wood, the cabinet style, or the overall quality. By identifying your priorities, you can allocate your budget accordingly.

2. Consider Alternatives

If your heart is set on a particular wood species, but it’s beyond your budget, consider alternatives that offer a similar look or aesthetic. For example, if you love the look of cherry wood but it’s too expensive, consider a cherry veneer or a less expensive wood stain to match.

3. Shop Around

Take your time with the first option you come across. Take the time to shop around and compare prices from different suppliers and manufacturers. Look for deals, discounts, and sales to help stretch your budget further.

Two Tone Kitchen Cabinets in Gray & Wood | Jean Stoffer Design
Two Tone Kitchen Cabinets in Gray & Wood | Jean Stoffer Design

Two Tone Kitchen Cabinets in Gray & Wood 
Image courtesy of Jean Stoffer Design

What Cabinet Paint Colors Pair Well with Natural Wood Cabinets?

A few options work well when selecting a cabinet color to pair with wood cabinets for a two-tone kitchen design that adds a striking focal point. A popular choice is to go with white or cream on the upper cabinets and wood on the lower cabinets to create a nice contrast with the warmth of the wood. Consider incorporating open shelving for visual interest and to display kitchen decor. 

Another option is to choose a darker hue, such as navy blue or black, to create a dramatic look. Additionally, you can opt for a color that complements the wood, such as a pale green or gray. Alternatively, a kitchen island in one of these hues creates a visually pleasing contrast.